Wisconsin Assembly Republicans and Gov. Scott Walker have added their voice to a growing chorus of requests directed at the Obama Administration asking that Syrian refugees not be relocated here.
In a letter addressed to Robert Carey, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Madison lawmakers cite the attacks last week in Paris and Syria’s ongoing civil war as their primary reason for asking that Wisconsin not be considered as a refugee relocation destination.
“It is not a time to open our doors to individuals who may pose a security risk or instill a unnerving sense of fear in our citizens,” the letter reads.
Michigan and Alabama were the first states to say they will refuse to accept relocated Syrian refugees, according to a story from ABC News, but the State Department says states may not have a choice.
Mark Toner, spokesperson for the State Department, said a person with refugee status has “legal status in the U.S.” and the freedom to move around after they arrive on U.S. soil.
Walker issued a statement shortly after representatives released their letter stating unequivocally that Wisconsin will not accept Syrian refugees.
“In light of these horrific and tragic attacks, our first priority must be to protect our citizens,” his statement reads. “The State of Wisconsin will not accept new Syrian refugees.”
Govs. Robert Bentley of Alabama, Greg Abbott of Texas, and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas have issued statements saying their states will also not accept any additional refugees or any at all if individuals have not yet been rehomed in their state, the ABC story continues.
Republican members of the state Assembly are clear about not wanting Syrian refugees here despite Wisconsin’s history of helping those in need.
The letter comes on the heels of news that one of the terrorists responsible for the Paris attacks may have gotten into Europe by posing as a Syrian refugee.
“Wisconsin is a generous state with residents who are willing to assist others in times of need,” the letter continues. “With no guarantee that no refugee does not have an association with radical Islamic terrorists, as a country and a state, we cannot take any chances.”
Walker also made reference to that situation.
“I have deep concerns about the Obama Administration’s plan to accept 10,000 or more Syrian refugees, especially given that one of the Paris attackers was reportedly a Syrian refugee,” the governor’s statement continues. “With this in mind, I am calling upon the President to immediately suspend the program pending a full review of its security and acceptance procedures.”